- If the predictions hold true, it will be a sixth consecutive record year for above-normal activity.
- Overall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 15 to 21 named storms would develop.
- Already this year, five named storms have formed, including Hurricane Elsa.
The federal government continues to expect another active Atlantic hurricane season in 2021 with seven to ten hurricanes forming, according to an updated forecast released Wednesday.
An average season typically generates seven hurricanes and peaks in August, September, and October. If the predictions hold true, it will be a sixth consecutive record year for above-normal activity.
Overall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 15 to 21 named storms would develop. This number includes tropical storms, which contain wind speeds of 39 mph or more. Storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph.
Of the predicted hurricanes, three to five could be major, with wind speeds of 111 mph or more.
The forecast is a slight increase from that made by NOAA in May, when forecasters said six to 10 hurricanes and 13 to 20 named storms in total would form this year.
Already this year, five named storms have formed, including Hurricane Elsa, which spread along the west coast of Florida in early July. Historically, only two named storms form on average in early August.
“After a record start, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season shows no signs of abating as it enters the peak months ahead,” Rick Spinrad, NOAA administrator, said in a statement. .
Matthew Rosencrans, the senior seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said “that a mixture of competing ocean and atmospheric conditions generally favors above-average activity for the remainder of the hurricane season in the Atlantic, including the potential return of La Niña in the coming months. . ”
The La Niña climate model, characterized by cooler-than-average seawater in the tropical Pacific Ocean, often increases hurricane activity in the Atlantic.
What is La Niña? Does it bring more snow? How the climate model might affect the weather in the United States.
Atlantic seawater temperatures are unlikely to be as hot as they were during the peak season of 2020, when 30 named storms formed, according to NOAA. However, reduced vertical wind shear and an enhanced monsoon in West Africa both contribute to above-average seasonal cyclone activity.
Major hurricane forecasts from AccuWeather, Colorado State University and Weather.com agree with NOAA that 2021 will see above-normal activity.
Hurricane forecasts include storms forming in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.
The season officially started on June 1 and will end on November 30.
Contribution: Kimberly Miller, The Palm Beach Post